Popping tags: Consignment v. Thrift

Everyone loves the quality of well-made items that don’t break the bank. However saying that your clothes are hand-me-downs comes with a certain connotation of being a kid in elementary school again, receiving your cousins or older siblings clothes. There are more fashionable ways to receive hand me downs that won’t break the bank that high end stores will. Granted it’s not free but it is affordable and once you shop this way you’ll never go back.

Consignment and thrift stores, are used interchangeably most of the time, in which “hey lets go thrifting,” really refers to let’s go to second hand stores. The real difference between consignment and thrift stores is the quality of the items.

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Most people are well aware of thrift stores, but not in the least because of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’s song.


Thrift stores are your stores like Salvation Army or Good Will. Most of the time they’re run by volunteers instead of employees, and more often than not they’re run by a church group or some sort of non-profit, meaning that they have more limited hours than Consignment stores.


Thrift stores aren’t as organized as consignment, and require a lot more hunting than Consignment stores. Chances are you might leave with nothing, but when you do leave with something you leave with a gold mine. Most of the thrift stores will have exceptionally nice items that you wouldn’t find in a consignment store for a fraction of the price. My last piece of advice regarding thrift over consignment is bring cash. Since most are non-profit it usually costs more money for them to run a credit card machine than the clothes are being sold for, so they have a limit, and since they’re prices are so low, it’s harder.


Consignment stores are where people bring their gently used items in, and when someone buys them they receive a fraction of the profit. Most stores use to offer 50/50 but now offer a 60/40 split with the store retaining 60% of the split. Once your items sells most stores offer it up as store credit, so essentially, you’re shopping for free, or if you like, they will write you a check. Different stores have different policies on these things, so I would check into what your local consignment stores have to offer before you consign with them.


Consignment stores are often lit better than their thrift counter parts. And while thrift stores are mish mosh of whatever people happen to donate, consignment is carefully selected. There are consignment stores for furniture, current fashion (and by that I mean anything in the past year or so), high end (this are pricier but still offer items at a cheaper price than you would find in retail) and vintage. Typically most consignment stores have websites that’ll tell you what they offer, so you know before you go. Because consignment is more carefully selected by the owners you’re almost guaranteed to enter into one and find something that you love. I personally can count on one hand the amount of times I haven’t found something in a consignment store.  They sell their items for 1/3 of retail and often have amazing sales on top of that. Most of the time you can still find items that are NWT( new with tag), which isn’t that outlandish to think about. How many times have we bought something only to discover later that it’s too late to return and we’re never going to wear it?


The great thing about these stores is that by shopping at both, you are supporting local businesses and sometimes an additional great cause. So go get your shop on, do it smart, and save yourself some money.


Written by: Sara Bolanos

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